Original Research

Personal growth initiative among Industrial Psychology students in a higher education institution in South Africa

Angelique de Jager-van Straaten, Lené Jorgensen, Carin Hill, Jan Alewyn Nel
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 42, No 1 | a1283 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v42i1.1283 | © 2016 Angelique de Jager-van Straaten, Lené Jorgensen, Carin Hill, Jan Alewyn Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 May 2015 | Published: 24 October 2016

About the author(s)

Angelique de Jager-van Straaten, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, South Africa
Lené Jorgensen, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, South Africa
Carin Hill, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Jan Alewyn Nel, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Personal growth initiative (PGI) is an important characteristic of workplace counsellors. Industrial and organisational (I-O) psychologists often assist employees with counselling for work-related and personal problems, and therefore PGI is an important research topic for this profession.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to measure the PGI of I-O psychology students in a higher education institution in South Africa, as well as to explore differences in PGI between demographic groups.

Motivation: According to the scope of practice for psychologists, growth and development of employees form part of an I-O psychologist’s responsibilities. PGI is an important characteristic of I-O psychologists as it enables them to efficiently assist employees in growth and development processes.

Research design, approach and method: A cross-sectional survey design was used. A purposive non-probability sample (N = 568) of I-O psychology students was taken from a higher education institution in South Africa. A biographical questionnaire and the personal growth initiative scale (PGIS) were used as measuring instruments.

Main findings: The results indicated that (1) the PGIS is a valid and reliable measure of PGI, (2) PGI is prevalent amongst I-O psychology students and (3) PGI differs between certain demographic groups.

Practical implications: The findings of this study will assist in the future development of a training programme for I-O psychology students to equip them with the counselling skills they need to function in a counselling role.

Contribution: This study contributes to knowledge regarding the importance of PGI for I-O psychology students. The study will also assist higher education institutes to adapt their training programmes in order to prepare I-O psychology students for their role as counsellors. More knowledge will also be provided with regard to the functioning of the PGIS.


Keywords

Personal growth initiative; Industrial psychology/psychologists; students; demographic differences

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